10 Things Every South African Should Know About Fish Farming

10-Things-Every-South-African-Should-Know-About-Fish-Farming

If you’re unfamiliar with aquaculture, or fish farming, it might be time to wade into its murky waters for a better understanding. It’s widely criticised by conservationists, but it’s also the reason wild fish catches have not increased since the early 1990s. The rise in fish consumption since then has been met by the increase in fish farming, so surely that’s a good thing? But what is aquaculture exactly? And why should we care?

Here are 10 things every South African should know about this growing practice: 

  1. Since 2016, more than 50% of fish consumed worldwide has come from fish farms. That’s a massive increase from the 10% of total production it was 30 years ago. This is due to the dwindling fish populations in the ocean due to overfishing and the increased consumption of fish, which now accounts for about 17% of all animal protein consumed by the global population. The average person now eats almost twice as much seafood as half a century ago. Our consumption of farmed fish in South Africa, however, is much less than the global average. With some experts saying it’s probably not even 10%, as our own aquaculture industry is highly regulated.
  2. As commercial fishing operations continue to strip the world’s oceans of life, fish farming is increasingly seen as a way to meet the world’s growing demand. The global wild fish catch has remained relatively constant at around 90 to 95 million tonnes per year since the early 1990s. Fish farming, on the other hand, is growing very rapidly, from 1990 until 2015 it has increased 50-fold to over 100 million per year. Aquaculture production has absorbed almost all of the growth in global demand in recent decades and will continue to play a critical role in protecting wild fish populations as demand for seafood continues to rise.
  3. But there are drawbacks. One of the biggest criticisms of aquaculture is that carnivorous fish such as salmon and tuna are fed wild-caught fish – so it still depletes the ocean’s stocks. While some farmed fish can live on diets of corn or soy, top-level carnivores (most salmon species) depend on fish feed of which a portion is usually derived from wild-caught fish such as anchovies and herring. Time Magazine reports that it takes 4.5 kg of ocean-caught fish to produce 1 kg of fishmeal. ‘We have caught all the big fish and now we are going after their food,’ says the non-profit Oceana. Lots of research, however, is currently underway to replace fish meal with alternatives. In response to the serious shortage of fish meal, manufacturers have started substituting genetically engineered feed, like corn, soy, and algae.
  4. It’s believed escaped fish breed with wild fish and compromise the gene pool, harming the wild population. According to a Biznews article, up to two million runaway salmon escape into the wild each year in the North Atlantic region. The result is that at least 20% of supposedly wild salmon caught in the North Atlantic are of farmed origin. Embryonic hybrid salmon, for example, are considered by some experts to be far less viable than their wild counterparts, and adult hybrid salmon routinely die earlier than their purebred relatives.
  5. The ecological impact of the farms is considered by many experts to be high and varied. Daniel Pauly, professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, says they’re like floating pig farms. ‘They consume a tremendous amount of highly concentrated protein pellets and they make a terrific mess.’ Some believe farmed fish waste falls as sediment to the seabed in enough quantities to overwhelm and kill marine life in the immediate vicinity and for some distance beyond. It can also lead to the discharge of excess feed, antibiotics, and chemicals into the water, which causes algal blooms and dead zones. But a local fish farmer we spoke to believes the footprint of most farms is very limited, and sites for cage aquaculture are chosen specifically to dilute waste accumulation with currents or by wave action. ‘Cage farming actually attracts a multitude of other marine organisms that thrive on the biological waste and any uneaten food,’ he said. ‘An example is the cage farming of tilapia in Lake Kariba: the surrounding area teems with other fish species keen to share the bounty that to a small extent escapes the cages.’
    But the massive amount of fish in one space can attract and harm wildlife, which get entangled in farm nets, harassed by acoustic deterrents, or hunted by larger species. In Saldanha, for example, where fish farms are currently in development, it’s feared the increased seal activity in the area will lead to further degradation of the wild fish stock.
    As with most things, the way the industry, and specific farms, are run determines whether it’s a good idea or not. At their worst, fish farms can pollute the ocean, threaten native wildlife, produce unhealthy seafood, and harm local fishing communities.
  6. But there is hope of a more environmentally friendly future for aquaculture. These problems are undoubtedly challenging, but attempts are being made to overcome them. Fish farmers are starting to open inland fish farms that eliminate any chances of diseases spreading in the ocean. Scientists are also finding new ways to filter water and keep farmed fish in a contained, clean environment so antibiotics are not required. Advancements have been made in raising higher-maintenance ocean fish in land-bound, sterile environments, making on-land fish farms a viable option for some rarer, more expensive species. Fish farmers are using less fishmeal, or ground wild fish, than they were 20 years ago, further taking pressure off the overfished ocean.
  7. The thing is, there’s a big difference between marine aquaculture and inland aquaculture. Most marine aquaculture is of predatory species requiring high protein diets, and therefore fishmeal and higher amounts of noxious wastes. In South Africa, due to our rough seas, very few suitable marine aquaculture sites have been identified. There was a proposal to establish a salmon in Betty’s Bay, which was met with fierce opposition from the local population and petered out. The Langebaan Lagoon near Saldanha, however, has the natural protection from the sea and has been earmarked for development. This too has been met by much opposition and protests from the local people, particularly the fishermen.
    Inland aquaculture, normally administered in dams, lakes and ponds focuses on species such as tilapia have less of an impact on the environment. There are different systems available to farmers but there are newly developed green water techniques, coming from the Far East, which are far more environmentally friendly than the local recirculating systems, which are heavy on energy and artificial feed. ‘There are many places in South Africa that are excellent candidate places for inland aquaculture,’ a local expert says. ‘Where water is plentiful, it can be used more than once and where constant flow is released (below state irrigation dams for example), it could be passed through large ponds first, and any overflow passed through artificial wetlands for cleaning, before being re-used downstream. No pumping, just gravity flow. This has been done in Botswana, for example, and this ensures zero pollutants reach the wild.’
  8. Freshwater aquaculture in Africa is finally coming of age, but only north of our borders. There are very few economically viable fish farms in South Africa, with the exception of the very successful trout and abalone sectors, but they’re common in Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda, and even Botswana. ‘Zambia, in particular, has a thriving aquaculture sector producing thousands of tons of good, healthy tilapia in competition to Chinese imports,’ the local expert we spoke to says. ‘A colleague recently completed a continent-wide tour of aquaculture facilities, and his findings reveal exciting developments in many countries, which suggest that Africa may, at last, be catching up with Asia in this regard. Egypt stands head and shoulders above other African countries, with an annual fish production of more than 750 000 tons.’
  9. So what’s the current situation in South Africa then? Compared with most other agricultural industries in South Africa, the farmed fish industry is in its infancy. Aquaculture has been identified as a critical industry, due to the popularity of its produce and the declining wild-caught yields world-wide. The suitable places on our coastline are limited and are already committed to other uses. Potential areas for marine farms, however, have been identified in Saldanha, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay. An approved plan to develop floating fish factories on an industrial scale in Saldanha has been met by local activists sounding the alarm that the project will potentially harm protected marine areas containing vulnerable species, lead to loss of fishing space and have negative impacts on tourism. Saldanha Bay lies at the mouth of Langebaan Lagoon, one of only three self-sustaining pure saltwater lagoons in the world.
    There are ideas for other aquaculture projects in the… desert! It may sound strange but many dry places in Southern Africa have abundant groundwater that could be used for aquaculture and irrigation. The Kalahari-Karoo multi-layered aquifer stretches from eastern Namibia to southern Botswana and into western South Africa. ‘Passing such water through fish ponds, which are then fertilised to increase primary productivity and therefore natural food for the fish, makes perfect sense,’ a local fish farmer says. ‘After passing through the ponds, a percentage of the water could then be used for irrigation. Irrigation projects in desert areas benefit from the abundant sunshine and long growing period; the swathes of green around Upington are testimony to this.’
  10. So, what should we be eating? It’s widely recommended that we should eat fish twice a week. Fish are a lean, healthy source of protein – and the oily kinds, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines – deliver those omega-3 fats that help reduce your risk of depression, heart disease, and cognitive decline. But then there’s the question of sustainable seafood. Knowing what seafood is best for your health and the environment isn’t always easy. One suggestion is to use the mobile app Abalobi, which helps small-scale fisheries connect with consumers, allowing all activities along the value chain to track the fish and understand where it came from. Another option is to eat less seafood and get your omega-3’s from hemp, soy, or walnuts.

Grub’s up! Why dining at places like the Insect Experience might become the norm

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Grub’s up! Why dining at places like the Insect Experience might become the norm

the insect experience

Mario Barnard, the chef at The Insect Experience, brought the platter over to our table. On the wooden board, elegantly plated, was a serving of polenta chips with a homemade smoked tomato chilli chutney, basil pesto and cherry tomato tagliatelle and croquettes with tahini hummus topped with micro coriander. It looked like it could be a meal at any of the fine restaurants in Cape Town. The only difference? Nearly 50% of the food was made from bugs. 

As their menu says, ‘Eating insects is a culinary experience, one that delights the taste buds and excites the senses. We want to introduce insects to you in a new and modern way. Forget what you think you know about eating insects…’ But what do you know? Or rather, what should you know? Firstly, it’s not as strange as you might think.

Around 3,000 ethnic groups practice entomophagy, the act of humans eating insects. This equates to roughly two billion insect consumers worldwide spread across 130 countries. So there are a fair few bug munchers out there – around a quarter of the global population. It makes a little more sense when you consider there are around 1,900 edible insects, which are made up mostly of butterflies, moths, beetles, ants, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, termites, dragonflies and cicadas. 

Statistics like these led the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation to bring out a report in 2013 called ‘Edible Insects’ that presented evidence of insects’ potential for the planet and human health. Insects were cited as a possible solution to the global food shortage and people took notice. Companies in western nations began producing processed insect flour, burgers, fitness bars, pastas and breads. And the taste? Crickets are nutty, locusts take on a seafood-like flavour and grubs are meaty. There’s mealworm chocolate truffles, caterpillar lasagna and locust souffle. A few leading chefs have also embraced the concept and have developed fancy restaurants and cookbooks to change public perception. But the question on everyone’s lips is; will westerners actually eat them? 

COULD THE IDEA FLY? 

While there are conventional and psychological barriers to eating insects, the arguments for insect farming are compelling. They can be split into four main points:

Firstly, 70 per cent of the world’s agricultural land is already directly or indirectly dedicated to meat production, with global demand for livestock products expected to double between 2000 and 2050, when our global population will reach 9 billion. Simply put – we need to make a plan. Oceans are overfished, environs are becoming polluted and climate change threatens crop production. As the ‘Edible Insects’ report stated, ‘To meet the food and nutrition challenges of today – there are nearly one billion chronically hungry people worldwide – and tomorrow, what we eat and how we produce it needs to be re-evaluated. Inefficiencies need to be rectified and food waste reduced. We need to find new ways of growing food.’

Secondly, insects are way more efficient across the ecosystem and need much less food, water and space compared to traditional livestock, while emitting fewer greenhouse gases. More than 10 times more plant material is needed to produce one kilogram of meat than one kilogram of insect biomass. It’s a similar story with water. Production of 150g of grasshopper meat requires very little, while cattle requires 3,290 litres of water to produce the same amount of beef. Importantly, they also produce 80 times less methane. 

Thirdly, edible insects display much faster growth and breeding cycles than traditional livestock. A female cricket can lay from 1,200 to 1,500 eggs in three to four weeks, while for beef the ratio is four breeding animals for each market animal produced. This gives house crickets a true food conversion efficiency almost 20 times higher than beef. 

And lastly, bugs are a good source of protein, fibre and fatty acids. The well laid-out menu at The Insect Experience shows that insects have 20 per cent more protein than chicken, and 18 per cent more protein than beef. 

COULD ANYTHING CLIP THE WING’S CONCEPT? 

Despite the advantages of insect farming, there are some challenges the industry will face as it grows. Firstly, mass production is a concern due to the lack of technology and funds to efficiently harvest and produce insects. As it stands, large scale production hasn’t been set up yet and no one is too sure what obstacles could develop. The machinery would have to house proper enclosures for each life cycle of the insects, as well as control the temperature as that’s key for insect development. This will come at a reasonable cost as insects are still somewhat expensive to produce because we haven’t reached economies of scale yet.

The same applies to the environmental impact of the industry. Some believe not enough is known about the environmental impact of insect farming, and that it could be much more complex than initially thought. Scaled-up production will increase the industry’s environmental footprint through the cultivated grain it needs for feed, and preserving the food through processing such as grinding and freeze-drying, which use significant energy. It has been argued that, overall, the realities of rearing insects on different substrates and on a large scale are yet to be fully understood, and may bring with them hidden or unforeseen environmental costs. 

Then there’s the question of sustainability. Many edible insects are wild harvested and, in some cases, this can lead to overexploitation. According to a Forbes article, this is a threat feared by Thai villagers in regards to their local silkworms. SOURCE: (www.forbes.com).

Ultimately though, the biggest challenge will most likely come down to taste and the mental block westerners have against sticking creepy crawlies down their throats. According to Kelly Sturek, owner of a US startup called Bugeater, it’s down to one thing. ‘It’s all about taste. In food, you can say whatever you want about marketing. “Hey, it’s good for the environment. It’s good for you.” Really, what it comes down to is taste.’ 

Back in the day, lobsters were barely eaten due to their strange looks and prisoners were often fed them. At one stage, there was even a petition to stop the inhumane practice of prisoners eating too many lobsters. Today, it’s the most expensive meal at any fish restaurant. And what is a lobster, if not a giant cricket? If they can change their image, maybe insects can too?

THE FINAL BUZZ

The polenta had a smoky taste, the tagliatelle had a similar feel to rye and the croquettes tasted … earthy. There was ice cream too and even treats called bugaroons. It was all pretty satisfying and the whole concept really was kind of bewildering. By grinding the insects into powder their versatility knows almost no bounds. But I know, from talking to people and reading online comments, the stigma of eating insects will be tricky to overcome in western societies even if they’ve been a part of some human diets for millennia. 

Maybe the first step is not to try and change eating habits, but instead to educate the public and investors enough so that the industry can receive some serious funding. And there’s a decent monetary incentive too; it’s been forecasted that by 2023 the insect food market will be worth $1.2 billion, but if perceptions change it could be worth much more. Let’s hope sense, as well as cents, prevails. And me? Well, after much consideration, I realised that if it’s good enough for Timon and Pumba, then it’s good enough for me.

MAIN IMAGE SOURCE: THE INSECT EXPERIENCE on Uber Eats

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Black Tahini Smoothie Bowl

Black Tahini Smoothie Bowl

 

The Fearless Female Leaders of Faithful to Nature

The Fearless Female Leaders of Faithful to Nature

We sat down with the two fearless female leaders of Faithful to Nature. Their dynamic and powerful personalities are the combo-force of where we’ve come from and where we are going. Driving excellence and female-empowerment in the workplace. When posed with the same set of questions this is what they had to say:

 Robyn Smith, Founder of Faithful to Nature 

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words. Dynamic, Strong, a Seeker.
  2. What is one app on your phone that you can’t live without? Google Maps! I’m much happier singing out loud to the music in my car rather than to have to think about where I am driving.
  3. Where would we find you on a Saturday morning at 10am? Barefoot on the beach with my family, up in the hills with my dogs or skateboarding around our village with my boys.
  4. What makes you most proud to be a woman? As a woman we have the greatest potential to lead the change we wish to see in the world.
  5. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? It has been very challenging trying to raise a family and to find balance with the relentless demands of running a growing business.
  6. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? Your strength lies in that which makes you a woman. Do all you can to be your authentic self and you will find your place in this world faster than you could ever dream.
  7. After all this success, what do you struggle with now? I still struggle to walk that path of balance. Although it is in a different field, I am still working very hard to be all that I can be and to have as much impact as I can and – as always – it is a constant dance to maintain balance between my responsibilities as a mother and as a leader.
  8. What is the biggest lesson life has taught you? Everything matters. We are constantly creating our future by our thoughts, words and actions in the present moment. Self-awareness and responsibility are key to creating sustainable and positive futures. I have seen over again that there is great worth in our ability to care deeply about the impact we are creating in our and others lives.
  9. Who has had the most profound impact on your life? My children without a doubt. They are my greatest teachers, my greatest source of joy and my greatest motivation to be all that I can be in this one and very precious life.
  10. What are you most grateful for? Myself. And the fact that I can say that – it has taken years of healing and self-forgiveness to get to a point that I can truly recognise and be grateful for myself and the journey I am on. 

 

 Katrien Grobler, CEO of Faithful to Nature

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words. Determined. Brave. Optimistic.
  1. What is one app on your phone that you can’t live without? Uber! since I’ve been back in SA I haven’t bought a car – I am a terrible driver anyway and am trying to lessen my carbon footprint. If it’s no Uber then I gotta walk (which is not bad many of the times).
  1. Where would we find you on a Saturday morning at 10am? Somewhere with a big pot of Earl Grey, Lavender or Rose Tea in hand.
  1. What makes you most proud to be a woman? The fact that we have overcome obstacles throughout generations and continue to do so.
  1. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? I wouldn’t say it’s barriers within my career, but more that my career has always been my number one priority and has been a barrier to me being more present in my own personal life journey, at great expense at times.
  1. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? Don’t doubt for one minute that you are able, worthy and destined for greatness in being authentically yourself.
  1. What is the biggest lesson life has taught you? Never ever, ever give up, give in or be defeated, the sun will rise in the morning.
  1. Who has had the most profound impact on your life? I often think of this, and my father always comes to mind at first; he certainly believed in my potential, even as a little girl, and set an example of humility, hard work and kindness. I have had a difficult relationship with my mother, however, I recently reflected that her determination through circumstances, and also particularly acceptance of all humans in any way or form, is something that was imprinted on me.
  1. What are you most grateful for? In life there is always room for a miracle, no matter how bad things look, life has a way of rewarding those who believe in the impossible.

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8 Epic Outdoor Documentaries to Inspire You

8 Epic Outdoor Documentaries to Inspire You 2

In October every year, the Banff Film Festival World Tour comes to South Africa. It showcases about 25 adventure films that focus on a range of themes such as climbing, skiing, kayaking, biking, adventure, culture, and the environment. The films, which vary from five to 45 minutes, show people doing tricks on mountain bikes you wouldn’t think possible, pulling off crazy skydiving stunts just for the hell of it and cutting insane ski lines down backcountry mountains. It’s impossible to walk out of their not amped to do something adventurous yourself. Unfortunately, it’s on just once a year. The rest of the time you can check out one of these movies to get your juices flowing.

1. MERU

This mesmerising film comes from world-famous photographer Jimmy Chin, the same man behind Free Solo. It won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and tells the story of climbers Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk, and Chin as they attempt the improbable first ascent of Mount Meru’s notorious Shark’s Fin, arguably the most technical ascent in the Himalayas. Anker, Chin, and Ozturk are an accomplished team, with respect to both their climbing and filmmaking. Meru couldn’t have been made by any other group—their extensive experience, grit, perseverance, and good humour made the expedition possible and the film absolutely gripping.

  1. 180 DEGREES SOUTH

Photographer, writer, and world-renowned adventurer Jeff Johnson follows in the footsteps of his childhood heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, as he gains passage to Chile’s impeccable wildlands via ship. It results in exhilarating visuals, an understanding of the isolationist’s pursuit of wanderlust, and the introspective nature of travel. Along the way, he faces a handful of hardships — but amidst these moments, he’s taught that everyone, everything, and everywhere, has its own story to tell. The 2010 film is more than just a traveller’s documentary — it weaves modern-day adventure with Chouinard’s rise to become a prolific and important environmental advocate. 

  1. UNBRANDED

This unique film is one of the most visually astounding documentaries of the past decade. It follows four aspirational ‘cowboys’ as they traverse from Mexico to Canada, with more than 16 wild mustangs in tow. After graduating from college, four friends set out to foster a sense of adventure, growth, and understanding revolving around America’s wild frontiers — a 3000-mile journey taking place over 158 days, that quickly brings to light differentiating personalities, conflict, and emotion. While the 2015 film dawdles in certain aspects, it’s the inevitable takeaway that serves to keep viewers intrigued — that no matter where you are, or who you’re with, the intensity of the world’s wild, untamed persona helps to create an unbreakable bond that can’t be easily tarnished.

  1. FREE SOLO

Winner of both a Bafta and Academy Award for Best Documentary, Free Solo felt like it broke all kinds of boundaries when it was released earlier this year. The New York Times wrote, ‘Alex Honnold’s Free Solo climb should be celebrated as one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever.’ After watching this National Geographic film, you’ll probably agree. Free Solo gives viewers a rare glimpse into the world of a professional adventurer, rock climber, and all-around adrenaline junkie, as Honnold vies to become the world’s first to the summit of California’s famed El Capitan, without the use of lead lines or top ropes. Free Solo isn’t quite a documentary about climbing — instead, it’s a character analysis of Honnold — his quirks, his dimensional complexities, his adulated views of the world around him, and his undeniable enthusiasm that bewitches, mesmerizes, and motivates those within his circle.

  1. THE BARKLEY MARATHONS: THE RACE THAT EATS YOUNG

Starting out as a backwoods run loosely based on the 1977 escape of James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, from a state penitentiary, this now-famous race fills its 40 slots within a day of registration opening. Boasting only 20 finishers in the first 25 years, the race consists of five loops totalling (supposedly) 100 miles through the woods of Pennsylvania. The course – which changes every year – is so challenging that racers are given a 60-hour deadline. The documentary, which came out in 2015, is a hysterical peek into the gruelling absurdity of the race and the dedication of the joyfully suffering runners. 

  1. NORTH OF THE SUN

North of The Sun follows two friends, Inge Wegge and Jørn Ranum, as they head to one of Norway’s most isolated stretches of oceanfront land — an arctic island (in an undisclosed location), somewhere in the great white north. In one of the coldest climates on Earth, they learn to live throughout the winter, utilising expired food caches and shore-strewn materials to survive, building their own driftwood cabin for shelter, and surfing their days away in the land’s frozen waters. North Of The Sun tells a story of survival, friendship, understanding, and perseverance — but, perhaps the most astounding principle of the film lies in the discovery of some of the greatest waves to ever be documented in the wild north.

  1. VALLEY UPRISING

Valley Uprising, which was released in 2014, tells the story of the founding fathers of rock climbing in Yosemite. The film focuses on the three generations of counter-culture outdoorsmen who set up camp in the Valley and, much to the dismay of law enforcement, transformed the big wall landscape into what it is today. Back in the days when ‘dirtbag’ was more closely related to ‘outlaw’ and many of Yosemite’s stunning rock walls had yet to be climbed, these climbers pioneered not only the sport but the culture around it — from van life to environmental engagement. The film traces the history of climbing in Yosemite from the early days to prolific and influential modern climbers like Honnold and the late Dean Potter.

  1. DAWN WALL

This is the third movie on our list set in Yosemite National Park. In January 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb The Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 950-metre rock face. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a frenzy of global media attention. Blurring the line between dedication and obsession, Caldwell and Jorgeson spend six years meticulously plotting and practicing their route. On the final attempt, with the world watching, Caldwell is faced with a moment of truth. Should he abandon his partner to fulfil his ultimate dream, or risk his own success for the sake of their friendship?

  1. UNDER AN ARCTIC SKY

In the same vein as North of The Sun, professional photographer Chris Burkard’s Under an Arctic Sky redefines the audience’s understanding of the great white north. The film follows six surfers on a journey to the distant reaches of Iceland, one of the world’s most diverse locales, in search of the best cold-water waves the region has to offer. Confronted with the worst storm season in the past two decades, the group navigates, overlands, and surfs its way toward a greater understanding of the frozen landmass. Burkard’s exceptional vision brings us some of the most immaculate visuals of any outdoor documentary to date and couples it with an immersive plot that’s completely scripted by Mother Nature herself.

  1. THE GREAT ALONE 

This award-winning film documents the comeback of Lance Mackey, champion sledge dog racer. Taking place in the wild and unforgiving Alaskan wilderness, the film follows the four-time Iditarod winner on a journey of self-discovery, outlining a failed relationship with his father, Dick Mackey, who was a co-founder of the Iditarod Anchorage-to-Nome endurance test in 1973, and his inability to cope with the dynasty that the head of the family left in his wake. Aside from the various trials and tribulations that Mackey must confront throughout the film, it’s also a story of perseverance — fighting everything from mid-race health issues, mental incapacity, and even cancer, to overcome all the odds set before him.

 

9 Tips for Hiking in Wet Weather

9 Tips for Hiking in Wet Weather5

Rain has a bad reputation. Even though it’s just a bit of water falling out of the sky. And if you’re going to be in it, you might as well enjoy it. There are the puddles to jump in, the sound of raindrops bouncing off trees on their way down to earth and the fresh natural smells. The world is transformed when it rains – everything looks greener, the streams burble louder, the waterfalls gush and there’s the chance of a rainbow (or two)! No wonder children get such a kick out of playing in the rain. And if you manage to stay reasonably dry, a great advantage is that you’ll probably have the trails to yourself.

So, don’t be deterred when it rains, just be prepared. This is how you can do it;

  1. CHECK THE WEATHER

Always check the forecast before setting out to make sure you’re not walking into a storm. This is a good habit to establish irrespective of the climate. And always keep an eye on the sky— if you notice lightning clouds forming in the distance, you’ll have some time to find shelter.

  1. TAKE PLASTIC AND ZIPLOCK BAGS

A rain cover for your bag is important but it won’t keep out all the water, especially if you’re in the rain for long. This is a problem because a wet sleeping bag does not a happy camper make. The answer is to waterproof your bag by stuffing your clothes and sleeping bag into their own plastic bags and tying fastly. Dry bags can be used for keeping important equipment like cameras and phones dry inside your bag. Plastic shopping bags can also be used inside your socks to keep your foot dry in extremely wet conditions. Remember to open your pack as little as possible. Every time you open it or take the cover off, a bit more rain will get in. This wetness builds up and will probably stay with you for the rest of the trip.

  1. DRESS ACCORDINGLY

They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Whoever said that probably hasn’t seen a Cape winter. But they do have a point. There’s a fine balance between getting wet on the outside from rain and getting wet on the inside from sweat. Make sure your jacket is both waterproof and breathable and has zips for venting. You may also want to invest in waterproof breathable pants. Keep a warm layer like a fleece or synthetic puffy jacket in your pack to put on if you get cold. Whatever you do, avoid cotton clothing as it soaks up water and is not warm when wet.

  1. SHOES

Waterproof trekking boots and waterproof gaiters (covers for your ankles and shoes) are great for short trips. They’re good at keeping rain out, as it seals off the gap between pants and boots. For longer trips, some people like to admit defeat and wear breathable trail runners. The thinking is that, on a multi-day rain trip, your feet will inevitably get wet. When that happens it can be better to just go with the comfiest option: trail-running shoes. Because they’re softer and more breathable than boots, they’ll minimize the potential blister damage otherwise caused by stiff leather and dry quickly in between rain showers. The other factor to consider is that when water gets stuck inside a waterproof shoe it creates its own set of problems as it can be quite difficult to get it out. Whatever you go with, be sure to pack extra pairs of dry socks.

  1. FOOD

One of the great joys of hiking is all the food you can eat guilt-free along the way. Hiking in bad weather, however, forces you to eat on the move as you’ll get too cold if you stop for long periods in the rain. Bring quick snacks that you can eat on the go, such as energy bars and fruit. Try to avoid food that gets wet easily – no one likes a soggy sandwich!

  1. BLISTERS

Wet socks will quickly rub the natural oils off your skin which leads to more water absorption, prune-like grossness and a much higher chance of blistering, especially in stiff boots. Make sure you pay extra attention to your feet during the hike and take plasters and blister creams with you.

  1. MANAGING YOUR BODY

It may sound strange, but dehydration is an issue in rainy weather. People tend not to drink as much while hiking in the rain, but even on rainy days our bodies need about two litres of water to continue to function properly. Also keep an eye out for symptoms of hypothermia, and ensure you know how to treat it.

  1. DITCH DESTINATION FEVER

Know your limitations. If a relentless storm makes things miserable or downright hazardous, turn around and call it a day. You’ll still have tales to tell and time for a hot shower and warm drink.

  1. HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

When it comes to adverse weather, the ultimate tool you can have in your hiking kit is a good dose of perspective. Yes, the conditions are challenging, but moaning and complaining won’t improve them. Stay positive and just embrace it. Just think of the puddle jumping and rainbows and smells. Think of the adventure and stay positive.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking in the Cape

10 Reasons I Fell in Love with Hiking (and so Could You)

A Rain-Soaked Adventure in the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area

 

The Best Wellness Festivals In The Country.

There are yoga retreats all over South Africa – in the mountains of the Drakensberg, bush lodges in the Pilanesberg, on houseboats in Langebaan and farms in the Midlands. But there are only two events that go beyond a retreat and enter into the realm of full-on wellness festivals. Set in beautiful locations and full of workshops, classes, markets and healthy eating options, these festivals are wonderfully inspiring and restorative experiences and both happen to fall in March next year.

 

Retreat yourself 

 https://www.retreatyourself.co.za/

26 – 29 March 2020, Elandskloof Farm near Greyton

https://www.facebook.com/retreatyourselffestival/videos/499513827256580/ 

Retreat Yourself embraces a combination of both wellness and music. A variety of health practitioners, speakers, yogis and pilates instructors from across South Africa will be leading classes through the four-day festival. Beginners to advanced workshops will be offered, ensuring there’s something for everyone. There will also be movement classes, music, dancing, live art and workshops. And two mountain biking and trail running routes – one 10 kilometres and the other 18 kilometres. Festival-goers can also let their hair down at a roller disco, on a secret dance floor and at stand-up comedy stage. There’s a little something for everyone and you’re encouraged to curate your own weekend. Exercise, eat well and learn or indulge, dance and let go – it’s up to you. 

There’s a wide variety of accommodation options. You can bring your own tent or pay a little extra to stay in a thatch or riverside cottage or a vinyl, dome, bell or luxury bell tent. The festival welcomes families, is open to all ages and aims to create a playground open to people from all walks of life. It’s a meat-free getaway where you can revitalise, learn, dance and feast. 

 

SpiritFest

5 – 8 March 2020, Somerset Gift near Swellendam

https://www.facebook.com/spiritfestafrica/videos/2218448825089607/ 

This  three-day celebration looks to bring together the power of yoga, meditation, dance and community alongside a river and surrounded by mountains. It encourages you to open your heart and explore your mind and body to help you experience the profound nourishment of the self – that each of us is capable of creating and living. They say, ‘Whether you’re seeking to play or pray, dance or trance, be in nature or just nurture your being, you’ll soon be making SpiritFest your pilgrimage.’

Start your day with 5 AM meditation followed by various styles of yoga classes, workshops and dances throughout the day and enjoy sound journeys of deep relaxation into the evening. Food stalls selling healthy and nourishing vegetarian meals will be open while you can also go for a  massage, go sunbathing, mountain biking, for a dam swim or even some shopping at a mini market catering to yoga lovers and health-aware individuals.

You can bring your own tent or enjoy the luxury of arriving to a tent already setup for you. There are tent providers in three separate campsites that offer belle tents, glamp tents and budget options. SpiritFest raises funds to support local community and animal shelters – projects such as EarthChild, Seva Unite and Rosie’s Soup Kitchen. 

The venue, Somerset Gift, is a pristine green farm and nature reserve just outside Swellendam.  Richard Holmes wrote of it in the Sunday Times, ‘Perfect where the road ends… Owner Dion Wright has ticked all the right boxes when it comes to creating my perfect country escape.’ 

Top 5 Superfoods For Mothers

From the moment of conception, your body is changing. It is a 9-month-long journey that doesn’t end there. Birth is akin to a marathon and breastfeeding, especially long term breastfeeding (and the World Health Organisation, WHO, recommends at least 2 years) is akin to being a super-athlete! It should come as no surprise then that super-moms need super fuel in order to shine.

Moms have Super-Powers

Oxytocin is the hormone released when you reach orgasm. It is known as the love or bliss hormone. It is also present during childbirth, as well as every time you breastfeed. Consider yourself in a perpetual state of after-glow when you are breastfeeding. It’s the hormonal super-power we are gifted as mom’s to counterbalance the sleepless nights and consistent energy demands of motherhood. It is no wonder moms (even tired ones) have an unmistakable radiant glow about them. The demands of growing your baby and then the continued demands of nourishing your baby from your breast are all-too-often overlooked. You’re burning hundreds of calories and you’re doing it multiple times a day.

If you think about it in that way, mamas are super-athletes and as all good super-athletes know: you have to take in top quality nutrients if you want to functional optimally on a daily basis!

TOP 5 SUPERFOODS TO SUPER-FUEL YOUR SUPER-MAMA

My baby is just over a year and these have been my Top 5 go-to superfoods to keep me feeling strong, energized and happy throughout pregnancy, birth, post-partum and the first year.

Organic Spirulina with no trace metals

I start my day off with 500ml of water and 10-15 spirulina tablets.

The importance of hydration and protein requirements throughout the pregnancy, post-partum and breastfeeding years cannot be overemphasized.

I like to make sure I get off to a great start so I’ve made it a habit to get at least 500ml of water in straight away along with my spirulina protein boost. If you start your day off with high quality, absorbable protein such as spirulina it helps to curbs sugar cravings. Whilst you need to keep your calorie intake high for good milk production, if you want to protect your waistline it’s best to avoid the sugary-treats. Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are growing a baby so you need good quality protein.

The Green Alkaliser

The Green Alkaliser is a combination of wheatgrass, barley grass, moringa, baobab and hemp protein powders. I love the it and chase my spirulina intake with a glass of this energising super-fuel. I take 1-2 T either plain in water or juice. The green powders are excellent for alkalising and energising the body, providing the body with a broad spectrum mineral base from which to draw upon, as well as baobab for good calcium and prebiotics, plus more readily absorbable protein in the form of hemp protein powder.

Super Chia

For breakfast I have Super Chia with hemp milkNot only is Super Chia loaded with 8 different superfoods giving you a wide range of vitamins and minerals essential to growing a healthy baby including protein, calcium and those important omega 3’s; but it has one extra special feature that tops all the rest and is essential for busy super-moms: it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare! All you do is add water or your favourite nut/seed milk to your Super Chia. Stir until well mixed and wait 5 minutes to thicken.

Organic Hemp Seeds

Organic Hemp seeds are probably the most versatile of all the superfoods; I eat and I use them daily. Growing a baby and breastfeeding a baby requires a lot of good fats – ie. essential fatty acids or EFA’s which hemp seeds provide . It contains omega 3 and 6 EFA’s in a unique, near perfect ratio for human nutritional needs. They contain all 20 known amino acids and contain 30% pure digestible protein as well as being a good source of lecithin which supports hormone balancing and 

building baby’s brain, as well as being the essential antidote to Mom’s ‘baby brain’ fuzz. I usually make a hemp milk and pour it over my Super Chia or use it as a base for smoothies. I often make a savoury hemp sauce  and pour it over veggies or as a salad dressing.

Super Berries

Berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants providing the perfect energy boost when you need it. Antioxidants help keep you looking and feeling young so you can keep up with your lively little ones. My favourites are Soaring Free Superfoods Goji Berries , Golden Berries and the new Berry Delight Super ShakeI generally snack on gojis and golden berries whenever I need a pick-me-up during the day, and I love making a Berry Delight smoothie to enjoy with my family in the mid afternoon, to keep us going till dinner. The pure delicious zing of strawberries, raspberries and acai powders awaken the senses just when you need it most.

Read the full article to find out more about TOP TIPS for recharging as a breastfeeding mama & what superfoods are best for your little one.

Superfoods Defined: An in depth Q&A with Peter & Beryn on the brand, the concept & the lifestyle

 

 

 

Coffee Nice Cream

Dubbed The Noffy Bomb, this is a hands down winner in the flavour variations we’ve tried in conjunction with our nice cream base. Here is just another way to show you how easy is to be creative with this recipe. Let this idea be your inspiration to creating your own magical superfood flavoured ice creams!

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add 2-3 tablespoons of your favourite freshly ground coffee beans and blend through your base.
  2. Your guests will be pinging off the walls with delight!

 

TIP: Serve with fresh berries to take the whole experience to the next level!

 I hope you enjoy our DIY ice cream recipes & play around and experiment with your own variations as you savour the warmth of the last days of the end of summer.

 

Soar Free & With Love

Beryn Daniel

Salted Caramel Vegan Ice Cream in 3 easy steps

Who simply doesn’t love ice-cream? Better yet, who can resist a Salted Caramel Lucuma nice-cream infused with the healing nutrients of superfoods?

Learn how to craft a super nice-cream in 3 easy steps. It’s a marriage of superfood flavours & an all-time favourite treat to heal the body from within.

DIY SUPER NICE CREAM

Step 1. Create your base 

Step 2. Enhance with superfood flavours 

Step 3. Decorate & Indulge 

From this classic Lucuma ice-cream base you can set your creativity free, adding your own flair by experimenting with different superfood flavours. This recipe is always a winner, whether it’s a quick fix after-eight treat or an after dinner dessert for your guests.

It’s simple, quick to create & sets within minutes! Try it out and let us know what you think. We also made a ‘Minty Mermaid’ Vegan Superfoods Nice Cream & a Choc Chip Crunch Ice Cream for a ‘superfied’ spin of this all time favourite.

For those looking for more artisanal flavours we’ve got you covered too, with our Soaring Free Superfoods Noffee Bombs (Nutty Coffee). See our Noffee Bomb recipe  for more inspiration.

PS ~ If you give these delicious ice creams a go please tag us @soaringfreesuperfoods, we love seeing all your creations.

Step 1. Create your base 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 400ml organic coconut milk
  • 1 Cup  cashews
  • ½ Cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ Cup Coconut Blossom Nectar
  • ¼ Cup Lucuma Powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

METHOD

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

Step 2. Enhance with superfood flavours 

RECOMMENDED FLAVOURS

  • Spirulina powder
  • Cacao Powder
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Mesquite powder
  • Vanilla Dream Shake
  • Chocolate Boost Shake
  • Salted Caramel (1/4 Cup Mesquite powder & pinch of salt)

METHOD:

Take your pick of superfood flavours and add 2 Tbsp & mix it into the base before you set it in the freezer. Set for 3hours minimum or for the best texture leave it overnight.

Step 3. Decorate & Indulge 

Make your own chocolate sauce by melting some chocolate in a sauce pan on low heat with some water/ milk alternative or follow our recommended chocolate crackle ice cream sauce! It’s the perfect ice cream cap that hardens instantly as you poor it over.

Notes

* Depending on how cold your freezer is, you may need to leave the ice cream out to melt a little before dishing up. The great thing about this ice cream is that it can be refrozen in the unlikely event that someone doesn’t lick the bowl clean.

* This ice cream is easy to prepare and the beauty is you can do it in advance. There are many ways you can set this ice cream too. There’s the obvious, set and serve as ice cream scoops, but I’ve also set it in a silicone loaf tin, easy to turn out and serve as ice cream slices.  I’ve even made my children ice cream birthday cakes’ using this recipe and setting it in a round cake tin. Then, of course there is the quintessential topping : chocolate sauce!

Coffee Nice Cream

Superfoods Defined: An in depth Q&A with Peter & Beryn on the brand, the concept & the lifestyle

Top Health Tips For Men

I wouldn’t say that health tips are one of the most common conversations amongst guys. ‘Jack, what’s the condition of your prostate?’ Is something I’ve never heard around a braai. Thankfully, this ostrich-like tendency to avoid topics of health and wellness is on the wane. More and more men are visiting their doctors for routine health checks, taking symptoms seriously and living a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, this ends up improving our life expectancy, which is five years less than women. But there are further steps we can take to ensure we’re as healthy as can be;

1. Find a Good Practitioner

Many men don’t report problems to their doctors that affect them, due to fear of judgement or embarrassment. The older you get the more issues you’re likely to face so find a practitioner (allopathic or alternative) you’re comfortable with and can openly discuss all aspects of your health, from your mental state to your sexual function to your overall wellness.

2. Get Regular Check-ups

Just because you feel healthy doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Going to your health care provider for regular checkups might just save your life. Be sure to check your cholesterol and blood pressure. If they’re not within normal ranges, follow your practitioner’s advice. And don’t ignore things like dark stools, vision loss, difficulty urinating or chest pain.

3. Eat For Your Heart Health

The bad news is that heart disease is one of the leading causes for death in men. The good news is that it’s one of the health issues we know how to influence with diet. You can give your heart some TLC by doing three things. Firstly, eat a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Secondly, eliminate ‘empty’ foods from your diet. White carbohydrates like pasta and rice are a great place to start cutting out, and switching to whole grain versions of these products may not be as painful as you think. And lastly, cut out trans-fats and boost your intake of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and wild-caught salmon that contain compounds that may help to improve blood lipids and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

4. Maintain Your Weight

Hate to say it fellas but the battle of the bulge matters. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll look better, feel better and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other major killers. I know this is easier said than done, but if you follow the eating tips above, you’ll be well on your way.

5. Check Your Prostate

Guys, the latexed finger is your friend. As you grow older, the prostate gland enters a growth spurt of sorts. This can result in new symptoms such as more frequent night-time urinating. This could be caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia, and there are lots of treatment options available. But it could be more serious so it’s important your prostate is monitored as you grow older. Any symptoms such as urgency or incontinence should be reported to your practitioner, who can take it from there and offer you reassurance and treatment guidance if needed.

6. Keep Your Eye on the Ball(s)

If an enlarging prostate should be the concern of an older man, the condition of your testicles is where it’s at for the younger man. Surprisingly, most cases of testicular cancer occur in young men between 20-39 years. Making a habit of checking your testicles (perhaps following a shower) regularly can help you to spot any unusual lumps or bumps that should be investigated. Things to look out for are any unusual rashes, lumps or redness, pain when peeing, or discharge from the tip of the penis.

7. Get Moving

The good news is that research shows that just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can help improve your health. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count.

8. Take it Easy on the Alcohol

I know, I know, these inconvenient truths are coming in hard and fast. Meeting up with friends for a couple of drinks at the end of a long day or week can be a great way to relax. But many men fall into the trap of consuming far too much alcohol in one sitting, without realising the long term effects of their binge drinking. Strive for moderation.

9. Maintain Your Sexual Function

Most cases of erectile dysfunction have an underlying physical cause. The main cause is lack of blood flow to the area in question, which can be a result of physical illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease. This is why it’s so important to grit your teeth and raise this distressing issue with your practitioner, who will be well versed in dealing with problems like these. Seeking professional help for this issue can potentially identify serious underlying conditions that you may not know you have, and restore your sexual function into the bargain, so you’re a winner all round!

10. Mind Your Mind

Did you know men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, which is thought to be due to under-diagnosed depression? Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are rife amongst men, and if ignored can have devastating consequences on your quality of life. Sometimes, men who feel that they have no one to turn to cope with their feelings by drinking too much, overeating, developing a short temper, or engaging in risky behaviours. If you’re feeling low, for whatever reason, reach out – there’s lots of non-judgemental and experienced help available.

11. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep deprivation runs rampant in our on-the-go society, yet it’s one of the easiest ways to promote good health. Try to  get at least seven hours. That’s not something you should compromise on. The effects of sleep deprivation are many and varied, and running a sleep deficit has a direct impact on your ability to focus and concentrate on tasks, your mood and your physical health.

12. Maintain Close Relationships

Everything is connected. Having close ties with others is key to maintaining good mental health, which is key to having good physical health. Phone a friend, take up those invitations and don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new friendships at any stage of your life. The bond of friendship, with a close partner or buddies, has a hard-to-measure benefit in your life.

13. Safety First

Whether it’s pulling out the lawn mower, going for a bike ride or moving some furniture, safety is key. And remember, lift with your legs boys!

14. Learn to Manage Stress

Many men define themselves by their careers, which can raise stress levels. Over time, stress can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. Notice early warning signs of stress, such as irritability, tension in your shoulders and neck, grinding your teeth or clenching your hands into fists, and find healthy ways to de-stress (for example; exercise, meditation or massage).

15. Maintain Mental Fitness

Practice mental exercises, like puzzles and reading, and take steps to learn new things. These activities have been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s and maintain brain function.

16. Live a Little

Take time every day to do something you enjoy. Spend time with friends, play sports, work with your hands, play music, read, make art or cook. And limit screen time. Try to have more face to face time with family and friends.

 

READ MORE

Why Sleep is the Foundation of Health

Managing Mental Health with Food

The 5 Best Trail Run Events in South Africa